Volume 2, Issue 10 The Newsletter of Minuteman Indivisible March 6, 2018
Muster (verb) – assemble, especially for inspection or preparation for battle
Minuteman Indivisible and other local organizations are gearing up to support student actions this month to prevent gun violence. Check out both the Morning Coffee Actions and Recommended Reading sections to learn more about what's planned and how this new wave of student activism is being viewed both locally and nationally.
Much of our work recently has been focused on upcoming elections. See the Morning Coffee Actions section for ways to help flip a congressional seat in the special election in PA next week, then check out the Spotlight section for an in-depth look at the work our Democracy team is doing on voter registration.
March brings local elections and town meetings in many Massachusetts communities. Several towns are taking local action on issues that our teams are already working on at the state or national level. If you live in Lexington, check out the Morning Coffee Actions section for local action to take right now, and if you're one of our many members from other local communities, let us know if there's an issue in your town you think we should urge our members to act on (see the last section of the Muster for many ways to get in touch with us).
All six of our teams have meetings scheduled over the next couple of weeks. If you've never been to a team meeting, but would like to find out more about what our teams they do, check out the Upcoming Events section below (or on our homepage) for more details on each meeting. Newcomers are always welcome and there's no commitment required.
We operate on a shoestring budget, but do need some money for events, postage, and fees for the technology that keeps us all connected, so we’ll be sending out our first fundraising email later this week. We greatly appreciate the donations we received at our birthday party last month - if you were one of the people who already donated there, thank you very much!
Your Devoted Muster Editors
MORNING COFFEE ACTIONS
(Actions you can do while enjoying your morning cup!)
Support Students Working to Prevent Gun Violence
Students are organizing walkouts, marches, and other actions in cities and towns across the country to demand sensible measures to prevent gun violence. Find out and support what's happening in our communities and see the Recommended Reading section below for some local and national commentary on this new wave of student activism.
• Students are planning school walkouts in solidarity with the students in Parkland on March 14th. See this link to find out whether one will be held in your community and this link to get more details about the walkouts being planned at Lexington and Minuteman High Schools and both Lexington middle schools.
• Survivors from the Parkland shooting are organizing a #MarchforOurLives in Washington, DC on March 24th and more than 450 sister marches are planned worldwide, including several in Massachusetts. Find a march near you here. Lyft is offering free rides to marchers, and some local communities, including Lexington, are organizing bus transportation to the Washington, DC and Boston Marches.
• Support the Boston March for Our Lives. Organizers for the Boston March are asking people to register using this link so that they can plan appropriately. You can also volunteer to help out with the March or purchase merchandise to help defray expenses. Stay tuned for information on MI carpooling opportunities.
Act to Improve Gun Safety Laws
Support the Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) bills (H3610 & H3081) currently stuck in committee in the MA Legislature. Ask your state legislators to support these bills and to urge leadership to bring them to a vote. You can also sign this digital petition. See this resource from the Indivisible Team for more information on ERPO and other ways that states can prevent gun violence.
Help Conor Lamb Flip a Congressional Seat Conor Lamb, running for Congress in a special election in Pennsylvania's 18th district, has been outspent 17-1 by groups supporting the GOP candidate in this Republican stronghold, but still has a chance to win this race on March 13th. Cambridge Area Stronger Together (CAST) is holding a phone bank for Conor Lamb next Sunday from 4-6 PM at WeWork (625 Mass Ave, Cambridge). They would love to have us join them! Sign up using this link. Prefer to text voters? Sign up to text this weekend using Indivisible's text tool.
Keep Calling to Get the Safe Communities Act Passed
Ask your state legislators to encourage the House and Senate leaders to bring the Safe Communities Act (S.1305) up for a vote. Late last month, the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and the members of the Massachusetts Major City Police Chiefs Association endorsed the SCA after some changes were made to address their concerns, but Governor Baker still does not support it. Please call the Governor at 617-725-4005 and ask him to add his voice to the Police Chief Associations in publicly supporting this legislation. When you call the Governor, please also thank him for speaking out against arming teachers. See this informative handout prepared by Lexington People Power for more information about the Safe Communities Act.
Think Globally, Act Locally
Lexington Town Meeting starts on March 26th and there are at least two citizen warrant articles that are important to Minuteman Indivisible teams: Ban Plastic Bags (Article 33) and Make Lexington a "Welcoming, Inclusive, Safe Community" (Article 34). If you live in Lexington, please contact your Town Meeting Members (TMMs) and ask them where they stand on these warrant articles. Information for contacting at-large and precinct TMMs can be found here; information on these two articles can be found on pages 15 and 16 of the Town Warrant, which was also mailed to all households last week.
Protecting Our Coasts
Last week, Minuteman Indivisible joined with many other organizations at a rally and public meeting to protect our coasts from offshore oil drilling at the Sheraton Boston Hotel (one of our members is wearing the shark mask in the photo below illustrating the impacts of a possible oil spill on MA beaches). Staff members for Senators Markey and Warren and Representative Seth Moulton, along with several state legislators and a representative from the MA Attorney General's office, spoke at the rally in opposition to the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) proposal to expand offshore oil drilling. Governor Baker later joined the entire MA Congressional delegation in a letter documenting the state's concerns. You can still submit your own comments by mail or online by March 9, 2018.
SPOTLIGHT on MI Voter Registration Activities
A vibrant democracy requires that people vote - electing the officials that share your values and priorities is the main way that individuals have a voice in government. Unfortunately, in the United States a large percentage of people do not vote. In the 2016 presidential election, only 58 percent of eligible voters went to the polls and local and state elections tend to draw a far smaller percentage of voters. Getting out the Vote (GOTV) involves many things (registration, transportation, enthusiasm for the candidate, weather, time, etc.) but the first step is actually registering to vote. Our Democracy team has a new sub-team that is focusing on voter registration and would love to have more people help with this important activity.
Opportunities for Helping People Register to Vote
The voter registration sub-team is identifying organizations and demographic groups to target for voter registration. They are volunteering with MIRAto register immigrants who have just become citizensand talking with MA Voter Table to help register low-income and people of color, and women. They are also looking into joining the effort to register/preregister high school students.
How to Register and Vote in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, there are many options for registering to vote: one can register to vote online; by mail; or in person at a local election office, the RMV, certain public assistance agencies, or as part of voter registration drives run by various organizations. Pre-registration is also possible: any citizen between the age of 16-17 can pre-register to vote and the application will be held and automatically submitted to election officials once they turn 18. See the MA Secretary of State website for more voter resources.
When it comes time to actually vote, there are also lots of options! MA now allows for early voting, which means that you can go to your voting location on select days and times leading up to the election and you can vote! Each town and city provides different days and hours, so it is important to check the information for your community. You can also just vote in the traditional way —on the official election day. If you will be absent on election day, you can request an absentee ballot; go here for more information on requesting an absentee ballot.
Support Automatic Voter Registration
The Democracy team has been actively involved in efforts tp make voting registration in MA even easier by passing legislation authorizing Automatic Voter Registration (AVR). Last month, the AVR legislation was favorably reported out of committee. The bill text hasn't been posted yet, but you can see an overview of how it would work here and the many groups that are supporting it here. Please call your state representative and ask if he or she supports AVR. If so, ask would you talk to Speaker DeLeo and ask him to put it up for a vote? If not, ask what are your concerns? (More info and call scripts here.)
Learn More about Parkland Students and Local Views on Student Protests
Student protests since the Parkland shooting have generated commentary at both the national and local level. We encourage you to take a look at these articles about the Parkland students leading this movement and the differing views about upcoming local student protests:
Let's Talk About States' Rights
Since Trump's election, there's been renewed interest in states' rights from democratic-leaning states. Concealed carry, sanctuary cities, oil drilling, elections, LGBTQ rights, and decriminalization of marijuana all fall under this umbrella. Here are three articles that discuss states' rights and why that concept is so relevant today:
Weekday Warriors Team Meeting Monday, March 12th 9:30-11:00 AM
Lexington Community Center, Room 217
The Weekday Warriors will be working in conjunction with several other groups to help protect the transgender rights bill which will be put to a referendum vote in November. Opponents of the law gathered enough signatures to place the law on the ballot for repeal. We'll work with LexPride, and indirectly Freedom for All Massachusetts, to help educate and debunk the myths regarding this law. We'll also continue to support candidates in other states and lobby our own State House representatives and senators.
Free Screening of The New Fire Monday, March 12th 5:30-7:30 PM
Ray and Maria Stata Center, Kirsch Auditorium, 32 Vassar St, Cambridge
A special, free screening of The New Fire with director David Schumacher, Kerry Emanuel, and Michael Short, a Nuclear Engineering Professor at MIT. The movie focuses on the young engineers developing the next generation of nuclear reactors that they hope will provide clean and safe solutions to our energy needs and climate change. A panel Q&A session will follow. RSVP using this link.
Healthcare Team Meeting Monday, March 12th 7:00-8:45 PM
Cary Memorial Library, Learning Center, Lexington
Join us for the March meeting of the Healthcare team when we'll be talking about research needed to support the elections team for the 2018 midterms and advocacy to be done for healthcare at the state level. New members welcome.
Talk with Senator Cindy Friedman about Legislation and Classrooms Monday, March 12th 7:00-8:45 PM
Lexington Community Center
Senator Friedman will talk about the status of current education-related legislation and what it takes to get bills passed or stopped. She also wants to hear from us about the impact legislation has on our classrooms and collect stories she can use to fight for pro-public education legislation. Space is limited so please RSVP using this link.
Moms Demand Action - New Member Meeting Monday, March 12th 7:00-8:30 PM
Cary Memorial Library, Large Meeting Room, Lexington
Find out more about the work this group does with moms, dads, neighbors and anyone who wants to take action to end everyday gun violence. This meeting is currently full, but another one will be scheduled soon. Only those who have already RSVP'd will be admitted.
Elections Team Meeting Tuesday, March 13th 7:15-8:45 PM
Lexington Community Center, Room 242
Join the Elections team as we discuss updates on what our candidates in KY-06, NJ-11, PA-06, and CA-04 need now; decide how to best respond to requests for support from compelling candidates in other House races; and introduce a new tool, currently under development, for following and supporting House races. We welcome new team members.
MI Book Club Meeting Wednesday, March 14th 7:15-8:45 PM
Lexington Community Center, Room 217
Join us for the March meeting of the MI Book Club when we'll be discussing Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild. New members always welcome and no need to have already read the book. If you provide your email using this link, we'll send you a short summary before the meeting.
Climate and Environment Team Meeting Monday, March 19th 7:00-9:00 PM
Lexington Community Center, Room 237
Join us for the relaunch of the C&E Team! Let's think global, act local. We'll be discussing initiatives that range from the proposed plastic bag ban in Lexington, to the omnibus bill in Massachusetts, to federal policies that have particular importance in Massachusetts. We will present information on how we can work with local organizations and Indivisible MA to amplify the message.
Democracy Team Meeting Wednesday, March 21st 7:00-9:00 PM
Lexington Community Center, Room 245
Join the Democracy team as we discuss conflicts of interest, voting rights, AVR, Charlie Baker - see what we're working on and help us decide our next steps!
March For Our Lives - Boston Saturday, March 24th 12:00-5:00 PM
Join us at this local march in support of the students from Parkland FL who are holding a march for gun control in Washington DC. Details on the local march here.
Learn More about MI Teams
Are you new to Minuteman Indivisible? While it is not required, one of the best ways to get involved is to join one or more of our teams! (See our website for more information on the teams.) If you'd like to contact one of our team leaders, their contact emails are below. (Although many teams have more than one team leader, for simplicity's sake, we list just one contact point.)
If you haven't had a chance to sign up for a team and would like to get more involved, just fill out this form: TEAM SIGN-UPS
Send Us Your Photos and Follow Us on Social Media
We know our members are working hard on a wide variety of issues and spending time at town halls, protests, MI working meetings, and other events. We'd love to feature your photos in our newsletter, on our website, and on social media - just email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We the peopleof Minuteman Indivisible are a team of concerned citizens living in the greater Lexington, Massachusetts area, home of the American Revolution. Our mission is to advocate for the rights and dignity of all people, informed by science and humanitarian principles. We are networked with many Indivisible groups throughout Massachusetts and the nation to build a strong and effective resistance movement against racism, authoritarianism, and corruption, and to promote a vigorous democratic process.